The Commissioner for Public Appointments

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Business Plan 2014 - 2015 (28 March 2014)

 The Commissioner is appointed to regulate the processes by which Ministers[1] make appointments to the boards of national and regional public bodies. His aim is to ensure that public appointments within his remit are made on merit after a fair, open and transparent process.
 He was appointed through public open competition and is independent of the Government and the Civil Service. 
 Getting the best and most diverse talent to take up public appointments is central to the effectiveness of public services and their governance. The Commissioner is therefore committed to working with Government Departments to ensure they have the capability and professionalism to attract the widest field of candidates and to make the best possible appointments. 

This is the Business Plan for the Commissioner for Public Appointments for the period April 2014 to March 2015.  It is based on the themes in the Commissioner’s Strategic Framework for 2013-2016.

Using this Business Plan the Commissioner will meet the requirements of the Strategic Framework and will fulfil the responsibilities that he has been given by the Crown as set out in the Public Appointments Order in Council 2013 to promote economy, efficiency, effectiveness, diversity and equality of opportunity in the procedures for making public appointments, with the object of maintaining the principle of selection on merit after a fair and open process.

[1] Primarily Ministers of the Crown and Welsh Ministers

OBJECTIVE ONE: Working to improve outcomes in public appointments through the attraction of stronger and more diverse fields of candidates.

What By when

Regular statistics will be collected and published to measure whether stronger and more diverse fields of candidates are being achieved by Departments:-

  • Statistics will be collected and published on appointments showing whether diversity outcomes are being achieved (including Departmental performance on diversity strands)
  • Statistics will be collected and published on the diversity of fields of competitions (including in all member competitions from April 2014) so as to establish whether diverse fields are being attracted to public appointments
  • Statistics will be collected on the diversity of regulated public boards so as to ascertain what the overall diversity of public boards is. 

  • Twice yearly
  • Twice yearly
  • Baseline by end July 2014


Four Departmental diversity stock takes will be undertaken providing an opportunity for Departments to examine and challenge their approaches to achieving strong and diverse fields.
  • By April 2015
Stakeholders with an interest in increasing diversity in public appointments and Departmental contacts will be brought together to discuss statistical trends, good practice examples and other intelligence, in order to generate a range of immediate actions to be delivered with the aim of improving diversity in public appointments. 
  • At least two workshops by April 2015
Through the chairing of the most important public appointments, Public Appointment Assessors (PAAs) will provide leadership and challenge to Departments encouraging improvement in the strength and diversity of applicants.
  • Ongoing

OBJECTIVE TWO: Ensuring full and effective implementation of a more streamlined and less bureaucratic public appointments system.

What By when

When chairing the most important public appointments, PAAs will provide leadership and challenge Departments to improve and streamline their appointment processes.

  • Ongoing
Research will be undertaken to evaluate the average length of time for appointment competitions to be completed, identifying whether a more streamlined appointment process is being achieved. This baseline will be used to monitor progress in streamlining appointment processes on an ongoing basis.
  • Baseline by June 2014 and then monitored annually.
A survey will be conducted examining the applicant experience when applying for public appointments. The data generated will be used to highlight good, effective and confidence-building practice, as well as poor, inefficient and bureaucratic practice which has the potential to damage the credibility of the public appointments system.
  • By September 2014
 Actions arising out of applicant survey will be implemented, including the need for additional guidance, further testing of the system through mystery shopping etc.
  • By December 2014

OBJECTIVE THREE: Improving understanding of the Commissioner’s role and confidence that the public appointments system is delivering appointments on merit free from patronage.

What By when
A comprehensive review of the Commissioner’s website will be undertaken identifying how we can better communicate our role, and better engage stakeholders, those making public appointments, and those interested in applying public appointments.
  • By May 2014
Actions and recommendations from the review to be implemented.
  • By July 2014
Social media engagement to be piloted through the establishment of a Twitter feed. The effectiveness of Twitter to be reviewed after six months and expansion into further platforms (e.g. Facebook, LinkedIn) to be considered.
  • By April 2014, effectiveness reviewed by September 2014


What By when
We will manage Departmental business and engagement in a timely and efficient way by:-

  • Responding to queries
  • Dealing with requests for exemptions from the Code of Practice
  • Allocating Public Appointment Assessors to chair competitions.
  • 3 working days
  • 5 working days
  • 3 working days         
We will deal with complaints in a timely and efficient way by:-

  • Acknowledging receipt and confirming whether complaint in scope
  • Substantively responding to complaints.
  • 3 working days
  • 15 working days
At the end of each PAA chaired competition we will seek feedback on the PAAs performance, and review the competition outcomes and any issues this raises.
  • Ongoing
Compliance monitoring will be used to provide independent verification of Departmental compliance and capability:-

  • At least five Departmental reviews will be undertaken per year
  • Key themes and issues emerging from compliance monitoring will be reported to the Commissioner.
  • Ongoing and annually
  • Annually
We will bring PAAs together on a quarterly basis to discuss emerging issues and build common and consistent approaches
  • Quarterly
We will bring Departmental leads together on a regular basis to discuss emerging issues and share practice.
  • Six-monthly

Diagram showing 3 Objectives of Business Plan 2013-14


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